Causing a stir
The best store-bought margarita mixes, for the mixology-challenged.
Sometimes you crave a margarita so desperately, you can’t deal with the time-consuming lime squeezing, the expensive orange-liqueur purchasing and all that confounding ingredients measuring. During such emergencies, a store-bought margarita mixer is an acceptable substitute. But which should you buy? A TOC office blind taste test of four mixers (to which we added Milagro silver tequila) and one all-in-one margarita in a can produced a clear winner.
Mr. & Mrs. T, $4 at Binny’s (locations throughout the city, binnys.com)
Nearly all of our tasters ranked this mix the highest. “Great citrus flavor,” one taster commented. “Smooth, goes down easy,” said another.
THE REST (in order of preference)
Jose Cuervo, $5 at Binny’s
The comments on this mix were, uh, mixed. “Alcoholic SweeTarts,” said one taster. Another deemed it the “best so far.” Others were not as kind: “Lacks acidity—where’s the lime?” “Very sweet, thick. Not my style.” One simply said, “Cleaning fluid.”
Finest Call, $4 at Binny’s
This mixer, it turns out, is not exactly the finest. Commenters likened the taste to Gatorade and “lemon-scented dishwashing liquid.” For one person, Finest Call was an alarming trip down memory lane: “This tastes like something from a high-school beach trip I once had before puking in my track coach’s hotel room.”
Stirrings, $9 at Binny’s
As if you needed more proof that pricier doesn’t always mean better: Though Stirrings claims to use “real lime juice and pure cane sugar perfectly balanced with triple sec,” nearly all the tasters found this mix too sugary. “Way too sweet and fake-tasting,” one taster said. “Synthetic—Country Time + tequila?” another wondered.
El Jimador tequila cocktail, margarita flavor, $2 per can at several Foremost Liquor locations, 1,000 Liquors (1000 W Belmont Ave, 773-935-1138) and other liquor stores across the cityThis new, slightly carbonated margarita in a can took tasters by surprise with its fizziness and grapefruity flavor—and not in a good way. One called it “fizzy, weak, tart” while another named “sour, weak, not very good” among its attributes.